U.S. Offshore Drilling Safety Regulator Gets New Director
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell yesterday named former Vice Admiral Brian Salerno as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which provides federal oversight for oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. Salerno, who retired from the U.S. Coast Guard last year as its Deputy Commandant for Operations, will assume his new position on August 26.
“Brian Salerno is an accomplished professional who brings proven expertise in maritime safety and emergency response management to the job,” said Jewell. “As we continue to strengthen the nation’s program to ensure safe and responsible offshore oil and gas exploration and development, I believe Brian has the experience, vision, and the leadership to be a great asset to the Bureau, the Department and the nation.”
Salerno will serve as the third director in BSEE’s history, following the departure of Jim Watson at the end of the month.
“I look forward to working with the employees at BSEE on the important work of ensuring that offshore operations are safe, secure and environmentally sound,” said Salerno. “I recognize the great strides that the Department has made over the past years, and I look forward to continuing that progress, working in close contact with our partners across government and industry.”
At the Coast Guard, Salerno worked predominantly in maritime safety, security, environmental protection and emergency response, serving most recently as Deputy Commandant for Operations where he managed a workforce of 750 people, with a $1.2 billion budget.
He played an important role in the Coast Guard’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and spill, and has served as Incident Commander for responses to several large-scale transportation accidents, oil spills and hurricanes.
Salerno was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Ocean Studies Board that explored industry and government readiness to respond to oil spills in the Arctic Ocean and part of a team that examined interagency relationships among BSEE, the Coast Guard, other government agencies and the regulated industry. He is a board member of the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association – a group of maritime companies and organizations committed to environmentally sound practices by industry.
Salerno received his Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and Master’s in Administrative Science (Management) from Johns Hopkins University. He also has a Diploma from the U.S. Naval War College and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Stonehill College. He is the recipient of numerous military awards.
In naming Salerno, Secretary Jewell praised outgoing director Watson, who will stay on through the end of August to ensure a smooth transition. “As the second director of BSEE, Jim has set a high bar as a results-oriented and dedicated public servant who has responsibly enforced safety and environmental protections for offshore oil and gas operations in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” said Jewell. “I sincerely appreciate his leadership and contributions in advancing our reform agenda for the American people and offshore energy industry.”
BSEE is one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement on Oct. 1, 2011. The agency’s functions include: permitting and research, inspections, offshore regulatory programs, oil spill response, training and environmental compliance. The position of BSEE Director is not Senate-confirmed.